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Residents gripe about billionaire neighbor in Hawaii

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If he is in violation of housing and sanitation laws regarding the maintaining of property wouldn't they impose fines for each day he fails to comply? He probably wouldn't pay the fines and the city could then sieze his properties as compensation.

The only way to get the attention of a rich Japanese businessman is to turn him into a poor one!

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Ok, I am officially starting the countdown to someone defending this guy due to his nationality or fininacial status.

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This man was very personable when I met him in the late "80"s, I would guess he is still approachable. Have to disagree with nuckin-f's take on this.

Interesting thing to help some unfortunate's to only become more scrutinized.

Try it sometime, you may not like it but you shouldn't let that stop ya.

There is a possibility of mental issues which may substantiate the gripe. Have the family doc do their job.

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Just one minute! Is that a record?

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Sure is~! Wow. 1 minute.

If you are Japanese and Rich, you can piss down the backs of some people and they will truly believe it is raining. If this was someone named "hilton" or "trump" there would be a call for heads to roll.

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How many non- Japanese living in Japan have housed homeless Japanese families in your neighborhood today?

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Ah, I see.

That excuses him from fulfilling all other social obligations. If Jonas Salk killed puppies for a hobby, would you have also said, "but he saved mankind from polio, what is a puppy or two"? It doesn't matter if you do great things, it is the bad things you do to affect others you will be remembered for.

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No sympathy for a rich spoiled guy who can't be bothered to keep up his multi-million dollar properties. Fine him. If that doesn't work seize properties. Too many of these rich guys think they are some kind of god and exempt from responsibility. I bet the poor guy on the other side of the island keeps his place up or faces consequences. Fair is fair. Make him take care of his responsibilities.

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lol, what a tool! if only i had a mansion like that in Hawaii... damn...

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Actually most of the posts here are quite juvenile, ten years from now you still wouldn't think so probably. Glad I don't share my house with most of ya. I met the guy, he was actually kind at the time, go play with your franks and beans, blow away.

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Actually most of the posts here are quite juvenile, ten years from now you still wouldn't think so probably. Glad I don't share my house with most of ya. I met the guy, he was actually kind at the time, go play with your franks and beans, blow away.

How can you refer to me as juvenile with a pedant post such as this? Honestly, this is a case study for politics, I suppose.

Liberal: It is ok. The man gave something to charity, so he is free to do as he wishes. If he endorses Obama, perhaps he should have the Nobel prize?

Conservative: Hold the man accountable for his actions. Past philanthropy should not detract from obligations and resposibilites.

And, then there is, "If all else fails, and I am proven wrong in my posts, tell someone to "blow away" and go cry to my birkenstock wearing klansmen".

Which are you?

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Again, neither. I simply posted the truth. If the guy has lost his mental capacity, it should be taken care of, like the lawn. Simple. No use stereo typin a guy no one here has even met except for me.

I worked for the management company in Portlock, we handled most of his properties there. I went to the mansion to check on a crew, helped them clean his grounds. He was one of the only hospitable owners, not many rich Kahalans or Hawaii Kai residents help the cleaning crew while they work.

He even served us Iced Tea.

I have never owned Birkenstocks and don't cry much.

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How can you refer to me as juvenile with a pedant post such as this? Honestly, this is a case study for politics, I suppose.

That...was childish.

Maybe I'm missing some subtlety in your argument, but did you genuinely just accuse someone defending a rich guy as a liberal? The polar opposite has been my OVERWHELMING experience.

You're not wrong, you just have no room to talk.

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Sue him for every violation. Place a lien on his property. Why treat him differently than any other crappy landowner.

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There is no liberal/conservative question here. The question is the impact of poorly upkept properties on their surrounding area. And the responsibilities of owning property in just about any developed neighborhood in the world. It has nothing to do with what this guy does outside this very specific topic.

If the guy is too sick or unable to care for the properties, his estate should engage someone who is capable. If he is just ignoring the problem he should be subjected to fines and possible seisure if he persists.

As for his philantropy, fine, let him lease out the rest of the abandoned spaces to poor familes on the condition that they care for the properly. Problem solved, no? Otherwise his actions or personality have zero to do with this issue.

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His actions have everything to do with this issue.

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Seems this guy has an MO that pays off...

Kawamoto owns dozens of office buildings in Tokyo under the name Marugen and has been buying and selling real estate in Hawaiʻi and California since the 1980s, and has been accused of making money by driving real estate values down by various methods without respecting the current owners, buying them out and then selling them when the price increased.

He has been criticized for evicting tenants of his rental homes on short notice so he could sell the properties, as in 2002 when he gave hundreds of California tenants 30 days to leave.

Two years later, he served eviction notices to tenants in 27 Oʻahu rental homes, mostly in pricey Hawaiʻi Kai, saying they had to leave within a month. He said he wanted to sell the houses to take advantage of rising prices.

Some neighbors are unhappy with Kawamoto's plan, speculating that he is trying to drive down real estate values so he can snap up even more homes.

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And how many Genshiro Kawamoto's are alive and well in your country?

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Kavikahi, are you his publicist or something? Just because the guy gave you tea doesn't make him Mother Theresa.

He is breaking the law by allowing the properties to fall into disrepair. Plain and simple. But if you love him so much, why not fly over and clean up the places for him?

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Wow,

Throw political views into the mix, and suddenly more excuses come up.

Now the guy is incapable of making his own decisions?

You're not wrong, you just have no room to talk.

Why? Have I failed to complete my obligations per the social contract? Do I impede my neighbor's quality of life?

Seems like a rich guy who gives out iced teas and says "hi" but in the mean time uses underhanded tactics to leverage other homeowners out of their properties gets the "bye" from the lefties on this site.

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Franknbeans. Lefties? Left handed people or your perception of liberals?

I am about a left wing as you can ask for. But I fully understand the obligations and responsibilities of taking care of property. I understand social contracts. And I think the rich should be subjected to the same rules and guidelines as the rest of us.

So what exactly do you think this has to do with either left handed people or people of more enlightened political views? Since clearly a lot of us think this guy is in the wrong.

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Maybe I'm missing some subtlety in your argument, but did you genuinely just accuse someone defending a rich guy as a liberal? The polar opposite has been my OVERWHELMING experience

Not the rich part. I can agree that liberals love to attack the rich. But the "famous" part? Liberals seem to forget that their fame usually brings fortune. The business aspect of the fame game is often conveniently overlooked due to their positions. Look at all the leftie hollywood types who bash big business. Do you think they go to their shanties and cry themselves to sleep on hard pillows?

Doing one good deed doesn't erase the bad you do. I would gladly take higher property value and piece of mind over a glass of iced tea.

How about you?

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why not fly over and clean up the places for him?

I moved on to better things.

I haven't met many billionaires that assist in cleaning their own properties. Doesn't mean I want to marry him though.

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Franknbeans. Lefties? Left handed people or your perception of liberals?

I understand the difference between politically left and socially left. I am referring to the socially left.

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So the guy had a moment of being a normal human being and pitching in to do a little work. Doesn't change everything else he's done.

Too often we decide that wealth or fame makes people better. "Wow, he said HI to me." Normal human beings say Hi all the time. And just how do these people get rich usually? By exploiting the hard work and labor of others. So he should give something back in terms of behaving kindly now and then. Especially to make us for 30 day notice evictions etc...

Franknbeans. The so called conservatives love to play the liberal card any chance you get as if it hurts us to hear that from you. As one of the card carrying liberal, or whatever other tag you want to put on it, I can speak for a lot of us in saying that for the most part we believe that people should be nice to each other. That means not messing up your properly like this guy, not tossing people out with no notice, not exploiting others to get yours, not ruining the planet to make an extra buck or two and not ignoring social responsibilities.

By contrast we think everyone should share responsibility for the world and community around us. Most of us even think that people should be free and left alone to live their lives as much as possible. We just think that there is a lot of responsibility involed to make sure that everyone has that chance and opportunity.

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Doing one good deed doesn't erase the bad you do. I would gladly take higher property value and piece of mind over a glass of iced tea. How about you?

which "piece" of mind are you referring to?

How much "bad" has this guy done to you?

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Tko, I am agreeing with you, but can you see the responses of others who share your political views?

That cup'o'tea must have been damn good.

Piece of mind is knowing that the money you put into a home wont be lessened by the underhanded tactics of a real estate scammer.

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Being a billionare doesn't give this guy license to do wrong. 30 day evictions, allowing properties to decline. Doesn't matter if he has done something bad to me per say. Matters more if he is doing something wrong to someone, anyone.

See people have social and moral responsibilities despite wealth, lack of it or fame/lack of it. I isn't 1590 and these guys can't say "I'm rich and therefore better than you so I can do what I want and you will put up with it." We've had a lot of time to say back "Treat us like dirt and we'll put you against a wall eventually."

So good rich people. Take George Clooney and Bono for examples, use their wealth and fame to do good. Which then we can respect and admire them for it. Guys like this, need reminding of the wall.

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So most of you know he is a real estate scammer?

Peace - note spelling,

Piece of mind is knowing that the money you put into a home wont be lessened by the underhanded tactics of a real estate scammer.

And that you earned it honestly.

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Sounds like any Japanese building owner, never fix anything never do anything to make the place look good.

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Three of the properties were rented to needy families.

But surely if he is renting his properties to needy families then he is not such a bad person as this news article is implying ?

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ut surely if he is renting his properties to needy families then he is not such a bad person

Thats exactly one reason why he isn't so popular among the rich neighbors.

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Thats exactly one reason why he isn't so popular among the rich neighbors.

Then I'm on his side with that one.

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Does taking care of a couple families by renting them properties undo all the other issues? Like ignoring public concern over his properties, imposing up on the community, all the real estate scamming?

What kind of logic are you using? You need to look at the whole picture and not just one corner of it.

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“Mr Kawamoto owns over two dozen multimillion-dollar mansions in the Kahala area...

Did anyone ever consider this billionaire is doing this on purpose? I don't know Kawamoto's life story, but perhaps it has been a lifelong dream from his youth to grow his wealth so that one day he could bring squalor and "needy" tenents to wealthy neighborhoods with multi-million dollar homes. I don't hold it against him, but I would understand him if this was his motivation.

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Logic tells me when I read someone is doing something that is entirely opposite to my firsthand knowledge of the person that I don't have to support the opinion.

Hey the truth is he was interested in keeping his place clean once upon a time, he also freely donated housing not rented two years ago.

simple truth.

The fiascos and scams are not my area of expertise.

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Does taking care of a couple families by renting them properties undo all the other issues? Like ignoring public concern over his properties, imposing up on the community, all the real estate scamming?

What kind of logic are you using? You need to look at the whole picture and not just one corner of it.

I don't really see why this is a headline news story ? Aren't there more pressing issues around the world and probably even in Hawaii ? Residents gripe about a Japanese billionaire's run down properties in Hawaii ? Give me a break. Unkempt yards, broken walls and vermin ? Kids are getting stabbed to death in England/ a serial killer is up for his appeal in Tokyo/ the Mexico police force are kidnapping citizens for money/ a Serbian warlord was finally arrested etc, etc,etc.

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It is a headline because the guy is Japanese and Japanese news is about Japanese whatever...

Major world events are always ignored here in favor of some tiny story about something related to Japan.

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What's the problem? Why is the Japanese consulate being called in? Is this guy above the law or something?

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rich or poor, nice guy or bad character, if someone owns property and rent it out, you have to maintain certain standard that the guy is respecting.

DenshaDeGo: my guess is that he doesn't live in US. The only channel is through the consulate.

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... is not respecting ...

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yeah I'm a bit confused as what can the General Consul do, the guy has property on US soil, the people they should be complaining to are local government officials. Unless the guy is living elsewhere?

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he's broke.

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why do poor people always make trouble for rich people, get a job! (sarcasm mode)

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he's broke.

it is possible

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There is a hint of a big Y in this story, the diagonal slash on the cheek...

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Kavikahi seems to be under the impression that many rich people are rude mothers. I've met my share of millionaires (but no billionaires) - including a relative - and have found them to be very personable and friendly. To me. When I'm not threatening their livelihood or income. That doesn't mean they can't be rude mothers to other people or screw their neighbors to get property values down so they can snatch up cheap (relatively) houses.

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The City Council of Honolulu unfortunately knows nothing about international law, and tried to drag the General Counsel of Japan into this thinking they would have better luck getting a hold of Kawamoto--not realizing, of course, that no foreign government is going to get involved in what is strictly a business/private legal matter on foreign soil. The General Counsel, of course, turned the City Council down.

Kawamoto has a long history of creating elaborate schemes from afar, and then getting local lawyers and property managers to execute them. Unfortunately, his misplaced altruism (if that's what it is) usually causes more harm than it resolves, because he doesn't take into account local standards and regulations, and is too much of an absentee developer to personally shepherd his business schemes through to completion. It remains a mystery whether his real motivations are truly beneficient, but he has, over the years, remained consistent in his claims that he is working to better the lives of people in Hawaii. Why Hawaii, and why him, when he really spends so little time there? Who knows?

In his own country, he is a complete engima. Search on his name and all you'll find is references to his activities in Hawaii--his company has no web site, his many offices in Ginza are among some of the least well maintained, and for a real estate baron, compared to someone like Mr. Mori (of Mori Building fame) he has almost no public presence at all.

In Hawaii, at least, he has left a lot of frustrated, angry people in his wake (among them his former lawyer, whom I know personally, and his real estate manager). But I don't think anyone is really qualified to comment one way or another on his real motivations, political views, or moral standing.

All that aside, I believe his gains to be largely ill-gotten--achieved not through the creation of new value, or contributions to bettering the lives of anyone in Japan or Hawaii, but through rapacious speculation in downtown Tokyo real estate, mainly during the "bubble" years. One writer in Honolulu referred to his so-called charity efforts as being backed by "blood money" and thus both insincere and repugnant, comments which not only can't be substantiated, but probably overstate the case. Still, he's succeeded only in wearing out the aloha of the citizens there, and seems headed for full, Howard Hughes recluse mode. Personal appeals have failed, and legal action based on local regulations seems the only remaining alternative.

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borscht at 12:19 AM JST - 4th October Kavikahi seems to be under the impression that many rich people are rude mothers.

Rude mothers are possibly rude mothers, rich and or poor.

I usually don't fit under impressions.

How you come to such heretical conclusion, only your twisted self knows. You obviously haven't followed the posts.

In Hawaii, at least, he has left a lot of frustrated, angry people in his wake (among them his former lawyer, whom I know personally, and his real estate manager).

I know many whom have done little else.

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Sounds like they need to involve the state government of Hawaii, not the Japanese consulate. Unless they're just trying to serve him a notice. But yeah, the state can handle this assuming how their property laws work.

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Is this guy part of the Mori empire? You know, buy bits and pieces of the block, let it rundown or bulldoze them for parking lots. And when he owns the whole block, bulldoze and redevelop into the Kahala Hills Mori building.

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